To Renovate or To Sell?

When your family has outgrown your current home or your house hasn’t been updated to remain current, it’s time to make a decision. Should you renovate or look for another home?

Putting your home on the selling block and heading out shopping for a new home right away might not be the answer. You may consider using some of your home equity to renovate so you can remain in your current location. If you’ve grown to love your neighborhood and all the amenities it has to offer, it might be desirable to stay where you are and make your home work for you.

The first consideration is whether your home can be adjusted to meet your needs. Is your lot big enough for an addition? Will your foundation handle the weight of an extra floor? Does the tired look of your home require a major overhaul? Will the renovations add value to the home?

Plan out the changes you’d like to make and speak to professional renovators to seek several quotes before making your decision.

Next, depending on the complexity of the project, you have to decide if it’s worthwhile for you and your family to live in a construction zone. Renovations could take several weeks or even months. Finally, you have to weigh your options to determine what makes the most financial sense.

Paying for the Renovations

If you aren’t in a position to pay for your renovations with money from savings or investments, you might consider refinancing or taking out a home equity line of credit.

The mortgage stress test makes it more difficult to qualify for a new home loan. Using some of your home equity to pay for the renovations could help improve your living space and create the features you need.

Another option is taking a home equity line of credit (HELOC)—where you can access money as required for each stage of your renovation. You only pay interest on the amount you use. This line of credit is secured by the equity in your home.

It’s important to talk to a mortgage expert who will ensure you get the best option. You should consider the potential increase in home value versus renovation costs.

The Cost of Selling

At first glance, it may seem like it will be costly to undertake a renovation. But the paybacks are huge in terms of your satisfaction, quality of life and increased home value. It may seem easier to sell your existing home and buy a new one, but there are many costs, including:

  • Real Estate Fees—selling your house can cost up to 6% of the home value for a realtor. So, if you sell your house for $250,000, you could end up paying $15,000 in commissions.
  • Legal fees—Depending on the complexity of the transaction, fees can range between $1,000-$2,000.
  • Land Transfer Tax—Where applicable, this can be 1-3% of the value of the new home you are purchasing. So, if you buy a house for $300,000, this would be approximately $4,000.
  • Moving Expenses—These will vary depending on if you hire packers and movers and how much stuff you have to move.
  • Decorating the New Home—If you need to furnish a larger space, it could cost thousands of dollars more.
  • Mortgage Penalty—Depending on the terms of your lender and your mortgage balance, you could face fees in the range of $1,000 to $10,000 or more!

There are many considerations when deciding whether to sell or renovate your current home. The decision between renovating and upgrading to a new house is not just a financial one. You should also consider your time, energy and peace of mind.

Each choice has advantages and disadvantages. When determining the best option for you and your family, consider the pros and cons of both renovating your existing home and moving to a new home.

Consider the costs of the renovations and the increased value after renovations versus the cost of buying a new home. This information will help you determine which option is best for you.